Tuesday, 30 September 2008

ABC2's dawn of a new era

abc_2001 When it comes to news and breakfast TV,  the commercial networks have almost had a monopoly on it - with various versions of Today and Sunrise, and not forgetting Ten's 6am news and the old Good Morning Australia - but from November not only will our ABC be delving into this arena, it will be doing so with an innovative format and as an investment into its digital channel ABC2.

From Monday 3 November, ABC News Breakfast launches with four hours every weekday of news and current affairs with Virginia Trioli, Barrie Cassidy and Joe O'Brien, but don't expect any "Mel and Kochie"-type nicknames for this group, this will be serious stuff for those that don't prefer the froth and bubble of the Sunrise set or Today.

An innovative aspect of the program is that it will also involve ABC news crews around the country and will also interact with ABC radio programs such as AM, PM, Radio National Breakfast and The World Today, as well as crossing to ABC's Melbourne and Sydney breakfast radio programs. 

Viewers will also be able to interact with the program in real-time by SMS and email, with messages received being displayed on screen during the program.  And to make the program accessible in real-time to all Australians, rather than central and western time zones having to see the show on delay, it will be streamed live from the show's website http://www.abc.net.au/breakfast

It is a bold venture for ABC to combine radio, television and online resources into a single program.

Placing ABC News Breakfast on ABC2 is also a big step in promoting digital television.  ABC2 has been in operation since 2005 but until now the amount of exclusive content it has aired has been largely limited to youth-oriented shows like Good Game, Hack Half Hour and JTV - but the advent of ABC News Breakfast on ABC2 shows a strong commitment to expanding ABC's digital offerings.

And placing ABC News Breakfast on ABC2 means that the children's timeslot that has occupied ABC1's mornings for decades can continue unchanged.

ABC2 is available as a standard-definition free-to-air digital channel and is also available on pay TV via Foxtel, Austar, Neighbourhood Cable and TransACT.

Source: ABC

ABC News Breakfast
Starts Monday 3 November, 6.00am, ABC2

Monday, 29 September 2008

1978: September 30-October 6

tvtimes_300978 Happy the War bride
When Alice Morgan and Michael Watkins (Megan Williams and John Walton, pictured) walk down the aisle together on The Sullivans, the bride's dress will bring back happy memories for one viewer, Mrs Emmett of Victoria, who wore the same dress on her own wedding day in 1943 and offered it to Crawford Productions for use on the series. The wedding of Alice and Michael took place at Melbourne's Church of Our Lady of Victory in Camberwell but, unlike a real wedding, took a full day of rehearsals and filming before Alice could say "I will." The wedding episode of The Sullivans screens this week on GTV9 Melbourne and later in October on TCN9 Sydney and NWS9 Adelaide.

micromacro Blinkity blinks!
Most quiz shows give contestants a chance to show how clever they are. Not so, with ABC's new show Micro Macro, as host Noel Ferrier (pictured, centre) says it will show them up with not a clue as to the answer. An adaptation of a European format, Micro Macro will put two teams of celebrity panelists against each other in a quiz of visual puzzles relying on the quickness of the eye. Among the regulars to appear on the show will be Carol Raye, one of Ferrier's companions on Blankety Blanks, and personality Jimmy Hannan, who is more familiar to viewers as a game show host rather than contestant.

clivehale The pause that refreshes
This Day Tonight host Clive Hale (pictured) finds there's nothing like a bit of meditation to calm those pre-program nerves, but he's never meditated in the studio, always at home. But since he and wife Elizabeth moved from Adelaide to Sydney so he could take over as host of the NSW version of This Day Tonight, he's often had to give his daily meditation a miss. "I'm determined to get back into it. TV is a high pressure industry and it's fairly unnerving talking into a lens," he told TV Times. Despite the show's increased ratings since Hale took over the hosting role, This Day Tonight is set to finish up later in the year.

The call of the wild!
TV channels are often inundated with phone calls from viewers asking about certain programs or to give feedback - sometimes constructive, but sometimes just illogical! One such phone call went like this:

Caller: "Why have you taken off The Restless Years?"
Receptionist: "But this is Channel 7, and that program is on Channel 0."
Caller: "I don't care. Just tell me why you've taken it off!"

Viewers have also had cause to call up Sydney's TCN9 to complain about The Mike Walsh Show. Rival station TEN10, which used to screen the show, still gets viewers complaints about the program, and ATN7 and ABN2, neither of which have ever screened it, also receive complaints about it!

And in Melbourne, one young viewer calls up HSV7 when The Flintstones is repeated, and always asks to speak to Fred Flintstone, but responds angrily when told that Fred is not available. A Perth woman also called up STW9 to ask if she could borrow a couple of palm trees, as seen on Gilligan's Island, for a Hawaiian party.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
"After the never-ending stream of cops and robbers and doctors and nurses, the classic The Importance Of Being Earnest was like a welcome oasis. As it was heralded by TV Times as the movie of the week, earning a four-star rating, one might wonder why good family entertainment such as this could be shown at midnight. Perhaps TEN10 are aiming at giving the dole payees, who don't need to rise at 6 or 7am, a little culture." V. O'Hara, NSW.

"Richard Peach and Richard Morecroft both look great and do a great job of newsreading. And thanks for presenting us with a weatherman, who tells us about the weather. Better than the over-glorified, shiny females of the commercial stations." A. Voake, SA.

"Having watched The Truckies' episode 'Country Music', I register my disgust with the series. Having virtually endured the previous episodes (because we haven't a choice of channels), the 'Country Music' episode I found most distasteful. If ABC is hoping to sell the series overseas I now add that it will certainly paint a sad and sorry picture of our Australian male, and our truckies in particular." W. G. Walker, WA.

What's On (September 30-October 6):
's live telecast of the 1978 VFL Grand Final is not listed in the program guides, possibly not confirmed at time of publication, but a full replay is scheduled for 6.30pm Saturday night.

Following the Grand Final, Penthouse '78 presents a special edition to celebrate 1000 episodes of HSV7's World Of Sport, featuring highlights of over twenty years of the world's longest running sports show. Joining host Ernie Sigley is World Of Sport host Ron Casey and regulars including Bill Collins, Fred Villiers, Jack Elliot, Rollo Roylance, Lou Richards and Gus Mercurio.

Sunday morning and afternoon on HSV7 is dominated by the Hardie-Ferodo 1000, over nine hours of live coverage from Bathurst Raceway in NSW.

Monday afternoon marks the debut of ATV0's new game shows Pyramid Challenge and Perfect Match and variety show The Steve Raymond Show.

The documentary The Last Tasmanian features on ATV0 on Wednesday night, a two-hour presentation tracing the genocide of the Tasmanian Aborigines, starting with the arrival of white man in 1803 and culminating with the death of Truganini - the Last Tasmanian - in 1876.

steveraymondSunday night movies are Sharon: Portrait Of A Mistress (HSV7), Soldier Blue (GTV9) and the premiere of US series Dallas (ATV0) with the first series of five episodes to be screened over three nights. ATV0 follows Dallas with a special presentation, Television's 22 Years, hosted by Steve Raymond (pictured) and featuring guests Graham Kennedy and Johnny O'Keefe.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 30 September 1978. ABC/ACP

Sunday, 28 September 2008

TelevisionAU Update 28-Sep-08

matthewnewton http://www.televisionau.com

FLASHBACK #47: TV's most famous family, the Newtons, could never be accused of being camera-shy - but it was not often that they all appeared in the same series. In 1988, 11-year-old Matthew Newton (pictured) had the role of Freddo in the children's comedy Sugar And Spice - and making a guest appearance in one episode is the rest of the clan - Bert, Patti and Lauren. The role of Freddo was the young Newton's second dramatic role after an earlier appearance in the Nine Network's The Flying Doctors. (Go to http://www.televisionau.com for full picture)

Sugar And Spice was a $3 million adventure-comedy set in the 1920s, produced for the Seven Network, and also featured Radha Mitchell, Susan Ellis and Frank Wilson. Picture: TV Week, 10 September 1988

Melbourne 1964 1982
Adelaide 1983
South Australia 1982 1984 1988


Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Peter Leonard

peterleonard Former WIN Television newsreader Peter Leonard has died after a battle with mesothelioma.  He was 66.

A resident of Canberra for more than fifty years, Leonard began his career at radio station 2CA in 1962, and stayed for nearly ten years.  He then served as a news presenter for local ABC radio and television for two decades before joining WIN Television in the early-'90s to read its Canberra-based news bulletin.

Leonard stayed at WIN News until he announced his retirement in July last year.  He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January this year.

ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope paid tribute:

"He's lived here almost all his life. He's a person from the region, a Canberran for more than 50 years, a former Canberran of the Year.  I know of nobody in Canberra that really we could actually claim as quintessentially the 'voice of Canberra'."

Peter Leonard is survived by his wife Gwen, his children Matthew, Nathan, and Natasha and his grandchildren.

Source/Picture: ABC

Sunday, 21 September 2008

1978: September 23-29

tvtimes_230978Cover: Michael Landon (Little House On The Prairie)

The Sammys are coming!
The third annual Sammy Awards promise to be the most exciting yet, with a stunning line-up of stars, programs and movies all vying for honours among 39 categories. This year will also mark the inauguration of the Chips Rafferty Memorial Award. The Sammy Awards, presented by TV Times in association with the Variety Club of Australia and the Seven Network, will take place on 11 October at Sydney's Seymour Centre. The two hour telecast will be hosted by Roger Climpson.

giltucker Dating Jenny is no picnic!
Since playing the mysterious Miranda in the movie Picnic At Hanging Rock, Anne Lambert has had roles in The Box, Glenview High and Chopper Squad, and now takes on a new role in Cop Shop. Lambert plays Jenny McGregor, girlfriend of Constable Roy Baker (Gil Tucker, pictured), but has some strange fascinations: "Jenny has a strange fascination towards violence. She is attracted by the uniform, the guns and the handcuffs."

TV ads draw viewers' fire
In 1977, 715 people were so annoyed by advertisements that they complained to the Advertising Standards Council (ASC). Half of those complaints were specifically about television advertising. The largest proportion of complaints were in the "taste and decency" category. Among the advertisements to be accused of general bad taste included those featuring bus-loads and TV screens full of lemons, the depiction of bad manners in bubble gum and potato chip advertisements, the depiction of rats eating Australia in an anti-inflation ad, the use of rough words such as 'gutsy' and 'damn', and advertisements for R-rated movies. Complaints were also received about the use of sex to sell products such as toothpaste and vitamins, the depiction of women in advertising and advertising displaying food wastage. The ASC's third annual report states that about one in eight complaints received are found to be justified.

Service to help the unemployed
The Nine Network is about to launch a new weekday morning program aimed at helping the unemployed find work. The half-hour program, Looking For A Job, will be hosted by Brian Bury and Gail Jarvis and will update job opportunities as listed by the Commonwealth Employment Services. The program will also feature interviews with representatives from major employers including BHP and The Shell Company of Australia, government agencies and the armed forces.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
"I am glad to see ABC produce a program for our truckies, but as a truckie's daughter I was let down by the program. Here in Western Australia our truckies aren't beer-drinking, pill-popping drivers. Sure, they do both, but only to a certain extent. The program is making the WA truckie look exactly the opposite to what he really is. In the East the truckie may be like that, but over here it's a different matter." V. Mazza, WA.

"I am concerned about the order in which episodes of Doctor Who are screened. I would rather see all the Jon Pertwee stories in order (and the Tom Baker ones for that matter) than just a handful of randomly selected stories." S. Collins, QLD.

"Again we have an example of how writers are regarded in this country. In the preamble to Woman In The House on Stuart Wagstaff's World Playhouse, Stuart Wagstaff made a point of mentioning everyone at the beginning of the play, with the exception of the writer. Mr Wagstaff also said "... but it was really Neil Fitzpatrick's play." Correction. It was Luis Bayonas' play. Surely as an actor, Mr Wagstaff knows that neither the actors nor the director could have done such a good job if they hadn't started with a good script." M. Kelly, NSW.

What's On (September 23-29):
With The Daryl And Ossie Show now airing weeknights on ATV0, their former Saturday morning timeslot on GTV9 is now taken by The Super Saturday Show, a line-up of cartoons presented by Queensland personality Jacki MacDonald.

Guest performers on this week's Penthouse '78 include Bartholomew John, Maria Venuti and Col Elliott.

It's the lead up to the 1978 VFL Grand Final and on Monday night, HSV7 has the Brownlow Medal Count live from the Southern Cross Ballroom hosted by Peter Landy. On Thursday night, Landy presents a one-hour special That Was The Season That Was. On Friday afternoon there's live coverage of the Bourke Street parade of the Grand Final teams, and on Friday night through to Saturday morning, John Waters presents the Football Marathon, featuring highlights from HSV7's archive of VFL matches.

noelferrierRelative Air Pollution, the second episode of ABC's comedy Tickled Pink, features Noel Ferrier (pictured) as owner of a radio station, 2KK, and traces his tormented life at the hands of his wife and sister-in-law, which becomes further complicated when the radio station undergoes a metamorphosis at the hands of his nephew, Jethro (Robert Hughes). The comedy also stars Judi Farr, Robina Beard, Stephen O'Rourke and Shaunna O'Grady.

Sunday night movies are The Don Is Dead (HSV7), Nowhere To Run (GTV9) and White Line Fever (ATV0), while on ABC, performer Jill Perryman is the special guest on the final episode of variety series Capriccio!

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 23 September 1978. ABC/ACP

Friday, 19 September 2008

Malcolm Searle

malcolmsearle Former TV quiz show host and radio presenter Malcolm Searle passed away earlier this week at the age of 77.

Tamworth-born Searle was the original host of the Melbourne-based quiz show Coles £3000 Question from 1960 until ill-health forced him to resign in early 1963. He was later one of the 'Good Guy' presenters on Melbourne's popular music radio station 3AK.

Searle then moved to Brisbane as a presenter on the recently-launched TVQ0 before moving to Sydney to host The Marriage Game. He later returned to Queensland, working in the hotel and restaurant industries and maintaining other business ventures.

In the late 1970s, Searle had returned to Brisbane to host the game show Pyramid Challenge for the 0-10 Network.

The funeral for Malcolm Searle was held today in Nambour, Queensland.

Source: Jocks' Journal

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Ernie Sigley preparing to sign-off

erniesigley_teenage Ernie Sigley, the "little Aussie battler" with over fifty years in radio and television, has announced his resignation from his long-standing role as afternoon host on Melbourne radio station 3AW, signaling a move into semi-retirement.
Beginning at radio station 3DB as a turntable operator in 1952, Sigley went on to become a disc jockey for the station and then graduated to television in 1957 as one of the hosts of Melbourne's first popular music program Teenage Mailbag on HSV7.
He then took a gamble and tried his luck overseas, managing to score work at BBC and at Radio Luxembourg. Returning to Australia in the mid-'60s, Sigley went to Adelaide where he took over as host of NWS9's Adelaide Tonight. Hosting Adelaide Tonight for almost a decade led to Sigley and co-host Anne Wills scoring a swag of TV Week Logie awards for most popular personalities in South Australia.
ernie_denise In 1974, Sigley returned to Melbourne to host The Ernie Sigley Show at GTV9, and which famously paired him up with former go-go dancer Denise Drysdale. They both went on to win TV Week Gold Logies as most popular personalities on Australian television and also had recording success with their single 'Hey Paula' becoming a best-seller.
The Ernie Sigley Show came to an abrupt end early in 1976 when an off-air outburst - after an episode which had been cut short for a sports awards telecast coming down the link from Sydney - aimed at his producer Peter Faiman and boss Kerry Packer saw Packer sack him in person the next day.
After being sacked, Sigley went to ATV0 to host a nightly variety show, Ernie, and in 1978 he replaced Mike Williamson as co-host of HSV7's Saturday night variety show The Penthouse Club, which then became Saturday Night Live.
erniesigley_81 In 1981, after a break from TV, Sigley made a few token appearances on game shows like Personality Squares before being signed up by Reg Grundy to host the Seven Network's new game show Wheel Of Fortune, a role which he held for three years before handing over to John Burgess. At the same time he launched Wheel Of Fortune, he also returned to 3DB, where his career began thirty years earlier, to host the breakfast program. And in 1982, he had a brief stint as host of the regional variety program Thursday Night Live from Ballarat's BTV6.
In the mid-'80s, Sigley reprised The Ernie Sigley Show for GTV9 which had only a brief run before he went to the Ten Network to host the daytime talent show Pot Luck, a revival of the 1970s Pot Of Gold.
erniesigley_3aw In 1989, Sigley and Denise Drysdale were reunited, hosting GTV9's new morning show In Melbourne Today which later became Ernie And Denise when the program went national a few years later. Sigley also returned to radio, first at 3AK, then to 3AW in 1996 where he continues hosting the afternoon shift until later this year.  Sigley, who recently celebrated his 70th birthday, is expected to stay at 3AW but in a part-time or reduced capacity.

Monday, 15 September 2008

"Good evening, and welcome to television..."

brucegyngell 16 September 1956, fifty-two years ago, and Bruce Gyngell greets Sydney on a night that made history: television was now here, finally. Australians had to wait twenty years for TV to finally come to fruition after numerous experimental broadcasts and demonstrations, a number of royal commissions and lots of politics.

But when we watch that historic opening introduction on TV now, the truth is it was a fake. (See, it wasn't just the Chinese that faked opening ceremonies!) TCN9 Sydney essentially re-wrote history when it realised that the only footage kept of its opening night had disappeared. The introduction that we see these days, featuring Gyngell standing in front of a world map (as pictured), was recorded a year after the actual event - hence it probably looked a bit more 'sophisticated' and rehearsed than what really went to air on 16 September 1956, when Gyngell was crammed into a space no larger than a wardrobe, and had to stand on an angle to line up with the camera standing on a crooked floor. The makeshift studios which housed much of TCN9's early productions were in a church hall in the suburb of Surry Hills, as construction of TCN9's studios in Willoughby had not quite kept to schedule, and it was very important for Sir Frank Packer that his TV channel was the first to air ahead of his newspaper rivals, Fairfax, who were forming Sydney's second commercial TV station, ATN7.

And despite receiving the credit for being the first person on Australian TV, Gyngell might have been the first face seen on TV screens that evening but he was not the first voice. That honour went to studio announcer John Godson who introduced TCN9's first night of regular transmissions with a very formal spiel:

"This is television station TCN Channel 9, owned and operated by Television Corporation, 168 Castlereagh Street, Sydney. Transmitting on 195 to 202 megacycles per second from Artarmon Road, Willoughby, with an effective radiated power of 100,000 watts, vision, and 20,000 watts, sound."

Following Gyngell's welcome speech came the channel's first program, This Is Television, giving viewers a first glimpse at TV behind-the-scenes, followed by the first variety program, The Johnny O'Connor Show, and the first game show, What's My Line. Another music program, Accent On Strings, wound up the first night's programs, and Chuck Faulkner read the first news bulletin.

The channel also made its first advertising dollars with commercials for Rothman's Cigarettes, Pepsi-Cola, Audiphone Aids and headache powder Vincent's which carried perhaps TV's first ad slogan: "TV stands for Take Vincent's!"

TCN9 was Sydney's, and Australia's, only TV station for almost two months as Melbourne's HSV7 and ABC's first TV stations, ABN2 Sydney and ABV2 Melbourne, were not officially opened until November of that year.

Those Fabulous TV Years. Brian Davies, Cassell Australia Limited, 1981. ISBN 0 7269 2216 1
Compulsive Viewing: The Inside Story Of Packer's Nine Network. Gerald Stone, Viking Penguin Books, ISBN 0 670 88690 4

1978: September 16-22

tvtimes_160978 Why Lynda said no to nude stardom
Lynda Stoner, nurse Kim Barrington in The Young Doctors, has just started a drama course.  "I want to be a good actress," she told TV Times.  The former Adelaide receptionist became a star after winning the Miss TV Times contest in 1976 - part of her prize being an audition with Crawford Productions.  The audition led to an offer to appear on the new Crawford drama Hotel Story, but there was to be a nude scene.  Stoner refused, returning the script, and thought her career was over.  She was later offered the role, keeping her clothes on, as nurse Kim Barrington in The Young Doctors, and has continued to turn down offers for movie roles that involved nudity, commercials for lingerie and magazine centrefolds. (Pictured: The Young Doctors' Judy Lynne, Bartholomew John and Lynda Stoner)

dawnlake Dawn's in the pink
Just hours after recording her scenes for an episode of a new ABC series of comedy plays titled Tickled Pink, Dawn Lake was in hospital having a cancerous growth removed from her face.  The surgery meant that Lake wasn't able to talk for several weeks, so it was fortunate she was able to tape the scenes beforehand.  In the episode of Tickled Pink, titled The Family Business, Lake plays a housewife who becomes a tea lady in a complicated scheme to keep a roof over her family's head.  Playing her husband is Max Gillies (pictured, with Lake), who is also featured in the series' final episode, A Visit To The Uncle, a Jewish comedy co-starring former Number 96 stars Johnny Lockwood and Bunney Brooke.  Other performers to appear in Tickled Pink over its six-episode run include Cornelia Frances, Peter Sumner, Noel Ferrier, Martin Harris, Penne Hackforth-Jones, Tony Llewelyn-Jones, Barry Otto and Jill Perryman.

steveraymond Raymond's bid for daytime viewers
"The last thing we want to do is be another Mike Walsh Show," said Steve Raymond (pictured), about to launch his own afternoon show on the 0-10 NetworkThe Steve Raymond Show offers a mix of news and entertainment, but with a new look - a lot of the people involved with the show have never worked in television and are able to offer challenges to the technical crews that they'd never met before, hence giving the show an edge over the more traditional daytime show.  An air-date has not been announced for the new show, but it is expected to debut in October along with the network's new afternoon game shows Perfect Match and Pyramid Challenge, and will likely appear at 1.30pm so as not to clash with The Mike Walsh Show on Nine.

Lionel's long on talent!
Singer and actor Lionel Long has been selected by Reg Grundy Productions to host the new talent series National Star Quest.  The program, being produced by Grundy's in association with a consortium of 25 regional TV stations known as Australian Television Faciltiies, marks Long's first TV compering role.  The recording star, with ten gold records to his credit, will spend one day a week at the studios of WIN4 Wollongong to host the studio segments of the new show.  National Star Quest is expected to air on the member stations of ATF from early 1979.

Just briefly...
If the commissioners at ABC, meeting on 18 October, give the go-ahead to the new Six O'Clock Statewide program, This Day Tonight could be off-air as soon as November to give staff time to prepare.

Bill Harmon, one of the men behind Number 96, has been keeping a low profile since the series ended, but is working on a new project backed by the Australian Film Commission.

Former Bellbird star Warwick Randall is also a wine expert, and has four books about to be published.

Viewpoint: Letters to the Editor:
"Would someone out in TV land tell me why I should invest in a colour TV?  This week has been good for reading books, what with specials, fashion parades and so on.  I want TV to give me a choice and not have the same station showing all the same sort of things." J. Hankinson, NSW.

"I should like to vote an extra special award to the inventor of the remote control gadget for TV sets.  I have just realised the full potential of this useful little article - I can shut Diana Fisher up!" C. Large, QLD.

"ABC is doing a good thing having The Truckies on.  People should think themselves lucky to have truckies around.  If it weren't for those good, hard-working, honest men, we would not have half the things in our shops today." D. Carr, SA.

"The Truckies is a horrible show.  We expect to sit and view something interesting, but all you hear is bad language.  All you see is sloppy behaviour.  It is a real insult to truck drivers." G. Sweeney, NSW.

What's On (September 16-22):
A change to the usual TV listings this week as this week's issue is the 'Inland' edition, covering Canberra, regional New South Wales (part of which receives GMV6 from Victoria), and the Darling Downs region in Queensland.

World Championship Boxing, featuring the rematch title fight between Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks, is telecast live from New Orleans, airing on Saturday morning and early afternoon on NBN3 Newcastle, NEN9-ECN8 Tamworth-Taree, CTC7 Canberra, RVN2-AMV4 Wagga Wagga-Albury and DDQ10-SDQ4 Darling Downs-Southern Downs.

The US mini-series Holocaust screens over four consecutive nights on CTC7.

The Quest Of Quests, the beauty contest to determine who will represent Australia in the Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Asia, Miss International and Miss Young International beauty quests, screens in a one-hour special Wednesday night on CTC7, NEN9-ECN8, CBN8-CWN6-MTN9 Orange-Dubbo-Griffith, RVN2-AMV4, GMV6 Shepparton and DDQ10-SDQ4.  Newcastle's NBN3, however, has opted out of screening the event, instead offering Benny Hill In Australia.  Later in the evening, DDQ10-SDQ4 continues the beauty contest theme with the local telecast of Carnival Of Flowers, including the 1978 Carnival of Flowers Queen Competition, with 23 entrants presented to the judges at the Toowoomba Town Hall.

The ABC comedy series Tickled Pink debuts in New South Wales and Queensland on Thursday night, and the following night in Victoria.

NBN3's weekday broadcast day commences at 7.00am with Breakfast Club, leading into the locally-made Romper Room at 9.00am, but the other regional stations, including CTC7, are off-air until late morning or early afternoon.

The Nine Network's The Mike Walsh Show is firmly entrenched across the regional areas, screening across all the local stations listed in the Inland edition.  US daytime soaps Days Of Our Lives and The Young And The Restless also appear in all regions during the afternoons.

Sunday night movies are The Mechanic (NBN3), the premiere of the mini-series Wheels (NEN9-ECN8), Dead Men Tell No Lies (CBN8-CWN6-MTN9), When Eight Bells Toll (CTC7), Attila The Hun (RVN2-AMV4), Divorce American Style (GMV6) and Some Kind Of A Nut (DDQ10-SDQ4).

Source: TV Times (Inland edition), 16 September 1978. ABC/ACP

Thursday, 11 September 2008

20 To 01 sparks search surge!

On Tuesday night, the Nine Network aired an episode of its retrospective series 20 To 01, with the topic being "20 Greatest TV Moments" - counting down the 20 (apparently) landmark moments in Australian TV.

Now I wasn't going to actually mention the program on this blog, as at least two other blogs already had it covered (eg. What's On The Tube, TV Tonight)

However, upon checking the site statistics for TelevisionAU this evening, it appears that one particular segment of that 20 To 01 episode has struck a particular chord with viewers, and I bet you can't guess which one....


#18: Full frontal nudity on Number 96

Because not only has TelevisionAU recorded a massive spike in web hits in the last 24 hours, but look at what's among the most popular keyword searches in that same period:

number 96
deborah gray number 96
number 96 nude scenes
number 96 tv series
number 96 nudity
number 96 tv show
rebecca gilling nude
number 96 cast
number 96 full frontal
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tv show number 96
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rebecca gilling number 96

and further down the list a few more:

96 the show aus tv
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actress deborah gray
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and there is more below that on the list, but you get the drift.

Monday, 8 September 2008

1978: September 9-15

tvtimes_090978 Million dollar TV extravaganza begins!
The Seven Network's million-dollar historical epic Against The Wind premieres this week. The 13-part series, starring Mary Larkin and Jon English, took six months to make and is the culmination of intense research and meticulous set construction and costume design to properly reconstruct 19th century Australia. Also starring in the mini-series is Frank Thring, Gerard Kennedy, Frank Gallacher, Lynn Rainbow, Fred Parslow and Hu Pryce. Executive Producer is Ian Jones.

Peita's no jail bird
Former The Young Doctors and Class Of '75 actress Peita Toppano has scored the role of housewife-turned-murderer Karen Travers in the upcoming Grundy Organisation series Prisoner, being made for the 0-10 Network. Production of the thirteen one-hour episodes is to start in Melbourne in October and the series also stars Elspeth Ballantyne (Bellbird), Val Lehman, Carol Burns, Colette Mann and Richard Moir.

Cricket 'fever' for 34 nights
The Nine Network is so confident that its World Series Cricket will capture a large summer TV audience, that between 28 November and 4 February it will screen all major matches in the series with most of them airing in prime-time. Program manager Gordon French told TV Times, "We found viewers had reacted very favourably to night cricket. And if people want night cricket we will provide it to them. We are, after all, governed by the wishes of our viewers."

johnwood Steady job sours 'Sugar' Wood
John Wood (pictured), of ABC's The Truckies, has a big problem when he's working on a TV series - boredom. He worries constantly that the hours spent sitting around waiting his turn on camera will affect his performance: "That was one of the problems I had on Power Without Glory. At first, it was great, as Sugar - the character I played - was in all the action, but in the middle episodes all I seemed to do was walk on to the set just to let people know Sugar was still around." This would be one reason why Wood would be wary about joining a long-running series, such as Cop Shop or The Sullivans, in a sustaining role: "I think I'd go screaming mad with the boredom of week-to-week chore acting."

Just quickly...
Stuart Wagstaff has revealed that he has never had a written contract for his cigarette commercial work. Everything, including pay rises, was done by gentleman's agreement.

Latest catch-phrase in the United Kingdom is "I'll rip yer bloody arms off!" following the screening of the pilot of The Little Big Show, starring Grahame Bond.

The atmosphere at Melbourne's ATV0 studios has never been so highly charged since the halcyon days of The Box, with all studios working to capacity.

suesmithersViewpoint: Letters to the Editor
"I've been watching The Restless Years from the beginning and haven't missed out once. But since Deborah Coulls isn't in it any more, I dislike it a bit. There have probably been reasons for taking Deborah out of it, but I reckon Sue Smithers (pictured) can't act as well as Deborah." A. Wiesenthal, NSW.

"I cannot understand why ABC sent Norman May to Canada to commentate at the Commonwealth Games after his awful exhibition at the last Olympic Games, especially the swimming events." W. Dickie, NSW.

"Would somebody mind telling that bore, Ian Meldrum, to grow up! Why ABC insists on inflicting him on the ever-suffering viewing public is beyond me." A. Rankins, NSW.

What's On (September 9-15):
ABC's long-running current affairs program Monday Conference features an interview with the Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

As mentioned above, Against The Wind debuts Tuesday night on HSV7 in a two-hour episode. Earlier the same night, ABC screens the first of a six-part series Run From The Morning, a mystery thriller starring Michael Aitkens (The Truckies), Bud Tingwell, Rod Mullinar and Bill Kerr.

It's a big week for premieres for ATV0 this week. On Monday night at 7.00pm, The Daryl And Ossie Show debuts as a half-hour variety/game-show format with Daryl Somers and Ossie Ostrich having made the move from hosting GTV9's Hey Hey It's Saturday last year.

Stuart Wagstaff hosts the debut of the ATV0's new talent quest series, Showcase, reviving the former 1960s format of the same name. Leading the 36-piece orchestra is producer Hector Crawford, and judging the acts are Robert Helpmann, Margaret Schofield, Roger Savage and Kenn Brodziak.

suejones On Thursday night, ATV0 presents the first episode of comedy series The Tea Ladies, starring Pat McDonald and Sue Jones (pictured) as tea ladies working in Parliament House, Canberra.

Sunday night movies are There's A Girl In My Soup (HSV7), Holiday On The Buses (GTV9) and The Man Who Would Be King (ATV0), while on ABC's Capriccio!, actor Warren Mitchell has chosen the music to be performed on the program.

Source: TV Times (Melbourne edition), 9 September 1978. ABC/ACP

Sunday, 7 September 2008

When Brisbane came across to Ten

ten1988 It's twenty years ago this week that Brisbane's TVQ0 (branded on-air as "TV0") made the move up the dial to become TVQ10.  The change finally brought Brisbane into line with the other state capitals that all had their Network Ten stations transmitting on Channel 10, and, following the launch of NEW10 in Perth earlier in the year, finally the network was on an equal footing in all five mainland state capitals.

visiontv The move from TVQ0 to TVQ10 was first mooted late in 1987 when the station was sold by Christopher Skase's Qintex group to regional TV operators Darling Downs TV, owners of "Vision TV" (pictured) which comprised DDQ10 Darling Downs and SDQ4 Southern Downs.  Upon buying the station, DDTV saw the benefits in swapping the frequencies of the two stations, TVQ0 and DDQ10.  The changeover would rectify any reception difficulties affecting TVQ0's signal across the greater Brisbane market, and would no longer see the station dogged with the "black sheep" status among its network by not being broadcast or branded as Channel 10.  It also meant that any network promotions and marketing material didn't have to be re-badged specifically for Brisbane.  However, for Darling Downs viewers, it meant the downgrading of DDQ from the stronger Channel 10 frequency down to the low end of the VHF band to Channel 0.  Viewers watching SDQ4 Southern Downs, or the low-powered relay transmissions on TVQ46 Gold Coast or DDQ5A in Toowoomba, were not affected by any change at all in this transition.

10_tuner The changeover between Channels 0 and 10 for TVQ and DDQ was one that required some co-ordination as the stations could not use the same frequency at any given time as their overlapped signals would cause interference with each other.  In the week leading up to the final changeover, both TVQ0 and DDQ10 closed down by midnight each night, then afterwards they would broadcast a temporary test signal on their new frequencies, TVQ10 and DDQ0, enabling viewers to check that their sets were able to pick up the new channels.  Normal transmission then resumed on their regular channels at daybreak.

The final changeover took place just after 12.00am on Saturday 10 September 1988, when TVQ0 newsreader Rob Readings announced: "Join us now as we turn to Brisbane Ten."  At that point, the station identification for Ten commenced and then suddenly, TVQ0 was switched off for good.  Viewers then turned over to TVQ10 to see a test pattern, then the completion of the Ten station identification, followed by a local station promotion for "Brisbane TEN".  The first program to then appear on TVQ10 was the movie classic Helter Skelter, before the station signed-off for the night.

See the video: TVQ0/10 Switchover 
(from http://www.youtube.com/user/reegs75)

And just incase viewers didn't quite get the message that TVQ0 had now become TVQ10, the Saturday night movie the next evening was the comedy 10, starring Bo Derek and Dudley Moore.

The move to TVQ10 was also timed to give viewers a week to make the transition in tuning their sets to the new channel before Network Ten's telecast of the 1988 Olympic Games from Seoul.

TelevisionAU also has some of the advertising used to advertise TVQ0's transition to TVQ10, as well as program guides for TVQ0's final day of transmission and TVQ10's first day.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Web tributes to TV staffers

gtv9_backstageTelevision isn't just about the faces and the shows that appear on-screen, it is also about the many that work behind-the-scenes, often in demanding and challenging environments.

One website, GTV9 Old Boys, is a tribute to the Melbourne channel's early days and the people who worked backstage.

The site features a number of photos from GTV9's early days, giving a glimpse at some of the early technology and the people that helped put the station to air.

gtv9_camera Also featured is a photo gallery of recent GTV9 staff reunions held in 2006 and 2007, featuring a number of familiar names and faces. The website also invites former GTV9 staff to submit their own stories and memories of their time at the station, and there's also an Old Boys Forum as well.

The GTV9 Old Boys is one of a few websites that are dedicated to the people that have worked in the industry. Another website is the 729 Club, remembering the social club formed in Sydney for television station employees - and yes, the club was named after channels ABN2, ATN7 and TCN9 as the club was formed prior to the arrival of TEN10 and SBS.

Another site, ABC Reconnect, was formed after recent staff reunions for ABC's 50th anniversary celebrations in Sydney and Melbourne and includes information of current events as well as many photo galleries from the history of ABC's television operations.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Michael Pate

michaelpate Veteran Australian actor Michael Pate, best known for his role in the long-running series Matlock Police, has died in hospital in NSW at the age of 88.

Born in Sydney in 1920, Pate began his career as a writer and broadcaster for ABC Radio at age 18. He later moved into acting in radio productions and on the stage before going to the US where he went on to appear in numerous movies and TV productions. Curiously, the Aussie actor was often cast as native Americans.

Pate returned to Australia in the late '60s and in the early 1970s played the role of Detective Sargeant Vic Maddern in the popular 0-10 Network drama Matlock Police.

With a distinctive and resounding voice, Pate was often employed for voice-over work and narration while continuing with acting roles, producing and writing. His work in adapting the novel Tim into a film screenplay earned him an award from the Australian Writers' Guild.

Retiring from acting in 2001, Pate continued writing and just prior to his death was working on a film script which his son, fellow actor Christopher, may end up completing.

Michael Pate is survived by wife Felippa Rock, son Christopher, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Source: The Australian, The Age, ABC

Kevin Heinze

kevinheinze Former ABC gardening presenter Kevin Heinze has died after suffering a heart attack on the weekend.  He was 81.

Before there were backyard blitzes and makeovers, Jamie Durie, Don Burke and even Gardening Australia, there was Kevin Heinze presenting his weekly fifteen-minute Sow What program, one of the first on Australian TV dedicated to gardening.  The program was taped from his own garden in Melbourne's outer east.

Even after the demise of Sow What, Heinze continued to present a gardening segment on ABC radio station 3LO (now 774 ABC) up until 2004.

Heinze and his wife Jill were also involved in promoting gardening in schools, and in the '70s established a recreational gardening centre for people with disabilities.

In the 1996 special to commemorate ABC's 40th anniversary of television, Heinze recalled that he was approached to host the program while working for the City of Melbourne.  He asked the council for permission, and they allowed him to host the program as they felt it would "only last a couple of weeks."

The program screened every Friday night, and repeated on Sunday afternoons, for almost twenty years on ABC in Victoria, from 1967 to 1988. 

Each program featured Heinze's signature sign-off: "Cheerio"

Source: ABC